My grandmother was an artist, whether her hand held a watercolor paintbrush, a flat of pansies to be planted in her lush garden, or a spatula dripping with zucchini bread batter. And as an artist, her mantra was “an artist never makes a mistake.” She believed true creativity can make beauty out of nearly anything.
My mother often told us a story when we were growing up that illustrated this point with rather great profundity. Apparently one rainy day, she and her sisters were inside all day while my grandmother prepared the house for an important dinner party. Between the three of them bickering, making messes where she had tidied up, and in general being a royal distraction, it was all my grandmother could do to keep things rolling. As she gently pulled her carefully baked angel food cake out of the pan, the whole thing ripped in two, and she lost it. The pressure valve blew, and the cake became a pile of crumbs in a matter of seconds. My mom says that at this point, she and her sisters froze and just stared at her in stunned silence. Drawing herself up, my grandmother looked at them and said, “An artist never makes a mistake.” She then piled the crumbled angel food cake into a mound, covered it in whipped cream, and stuck strawberries all over it; it was the sensation of the party.
Now as an artist myself, I always remember her words when I want to give up on a painting, a flower arrangement, or a piece of writing. In this issue, we feature three incredibly talented local artists who also share the passion of not just creating remarkable work but of passing their own tricks, words of wisdom, and skills to the next generation of artists. Read about the journeys of Michael Story, Rob Shaw, and Michel McNinch on page 110.
Another of my grandmother’s artist words of wisdom was not to focus on being better than someone else but rather to focus on being the best you can be. This translated into not only being the best artist, but the best athlete, the best student, etc. In this, our annual Best of Columbia issue, we feature the businesses who you, our readers, have decided are worthy to be called the very best in our community. I am sure that many of these small business owners would echo my grandmother’s sage opinion that being the best is much more about offering the very highest quality service and products that they can than about beating someone else … not that a little healthy competition is ever a bad thing!
We are proud to announce the 2022 Best of Columbia winners on page 66. Congratulations to them and to all the businesses and people in the Midlands striving to be the very best they can be.